SUMMARY: The energy-based classification of heterotrophic substrates requires biochemical evaluation because some substrates can be assimilated by a variety of different metabolic pathways. By using the -concept it was shown that the classification depends on the yield of ATP and reducing equivalents already generated on the way to the precursor (phosphoglycerate). With carbon-excess substrates a part of the total substrate consumed must be oxidized to completion merely for energy production, whereas with energy-excess substrates more energy is provided on the route to the precursor than is needed for assimilation of the precursor carbon. By means of this approach it was possible to assess experimental growth yields obtained on mixed substrates and to predict the optimum mixing proportion in order to attain the maximum carbon conversion efficiency. The validity of this method was shown for some examples.


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